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Real reasons behind India’s poor show in the T20 World Cup

12 May

India has crashed out of another T20 World Cup – two in succession, I must add. As usual, several points are being made as to why India failed. Several people blame IPL, some others blame the batsmen or bowlers while others pick on Dhoni’s captaincy. Let’s try to analyze the real reasons here.

1. Paper Tigers

Even when a lot of people have hailed India’s so-called strong batting lineup (not just the current team but before as well), I have always maintained that India is a highly overrated cricket team. The fans may hate to hear or accept it but even when India was reigning the No.1 spot in ICC test rankings, they got up there due to huge number of matches played in the sub-continent conditions. The best they ever manage to do is to win one test match each in a series in Australia, West Indies and South Africa respectively. Our paper tigers’ batting records (even Sachin Tendulkar‘s) never helped India to peak.

None of our batsmen – from any generation barring probably the mighty Sunil Gavaskar and Gundappa Vishwanath to some extend – were ever effective against quality pace bowling attack. And that gets us to the next point.

2. Pitches in India

In order to prepare our batsmen for bouncy and fiery tracks abroad, we have to prepare a few such pitches in India itself. I am sick and tired of writing about this so many times. Unless we have bouncy pitches for domestic circuit and even IPL, none of our batsmen will learn to combat good quality bowling attacks.

3. It’s all about batsmen! They are gods!!

In India, Sachin Tendulkar is god but a talented fast bowler can never become a god. A near god from the past was Kapil Dev and extremely talented bowlers like Javagal Srinath and Zaheer Khan wasted their whole career breaking their backbones by bowling in dead tracks in India. Our fans and our system should learn to appreciate bowlers and their efforts. And the best way to help them is with some good bowling tracks where our paper tigers can be put to real test. I am sure Tendulkars and Sehwags will be getting hit on their heads by our talented fast bowling unit if they are provided with the right pitches.

4. The IPL impact

The BCCI and India had a great chance to revive the quality of cricket (in real sense and not the money part) in India but they opted for not putting the right and fair support for all departments. The IPL helped Indian cricketers to make money but not to prepare them for the world arena. Pitches was one part but the main problem was that it was still about glamour, batsmen, parties, cheer girls, DLF maximums etc – basically everything but cricket.

The IPL fatigue definitely added problems on top of injury omissions (like Sehwag). India went to their World cup right after the IPL and without a practice game. IPL parties and tight schedules added to the misery and fitness of our batsmen and bowlers. Definitely, every team (England, Pakistan) that did not take part in IPL played better than India in this T20 World Cup.

5. Wrong Selection & composition

India is the only country in this World cup, that doesn’t have single senior player. Who said, Twenty 20 is all about vigourous youngsters? Look at Jack Kallis’ or Mahela Jayawardene‘s performance. If Sehwag wasn’t available for the tournament, why not fall back to a senior who was performing well?

Also, when we selected our squad and when Praveen Kumar was injured, why wasn’t a new pacer sent to the squad? On top of that, why wasn’t even Vinay Kumar given a chance to play, especially on seamer friendly Barbados track?

As for out of form Yuvraj Singh, he shouldn’t have even figured in the Indian team after his poor show at IPL and visible no-care attitude. This attitude problem should have been fixed by dropping him out of the squad. Ravindra Jadeja is another hugely overrated player who shouldn’t find a place in this Indian team. Moreover, he did not have any kind of match practice for months owing to his expulsion from IPL. Playing an eighth batsman on the side itself was a wrong plot.

6. Captaincy

Dhoni was not captain cool but ‘captain fool‘ for this entire tournament. Having won the toss in all super eight games, he didn’t opt to bat in the first two. He was obviously scared of exposing his batsmen to the bouncy track in Barbados in the first two matches. And on a bouncy track, Rohit Sharma and he himself should come at no. 3 and 4 respectively to make a statement instead he chickened out to number 7 himself. As usual, when the going is good (like 90/1 etc) on flat tracks he promotes himself. This is not what is expected out of a captain and he is a very opportunist and selfish player that way. I have seen himself promoting on almost all flat tracks when India is doing well but never seen him coming up the order on bouncy tracks.

Also, he has specific likes such as Raina, Praveen Kumar, Pathan, Jadeja etc where as people like Vinay Kumar, Rohit Sharma, Pragyan Ojha (never even get selected), Dinesh Karthick etc are always neglected either in selection or final eleven. Do we see a pattern here? Even for the tour in Zimbabwe, I thought, the more experienced Dinesh Karthick should have been the captain instead of Suresh Raina.

7. Attitude Problems

There’s a lot of attitude problems with the young generation cricketers. Most of them are there for money alone and wouldn’t care about the national side and the countries’ priorities. The culture of events like IPL with overnight parties and too many endorsements don’t really help cricket but only help these stars to make money. I think BCCI should stop the contract system and take players who are on form at a particular time. People like Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh and Sreesanth should be taught proper lessons as and when behavioral problems and nasty incidents happen.

In short, we must keep people with great attitude, who can work hard and who takes real pride in playing for the nation.

8. Tight international schedules

India is the only country who plays too much of limited over and Twenty 20 cricket by jeopardizing their international schedule and form. If BCCI not going to do something about shortening the IPL event duration and play lesser number of ODIs per series, they will not be doing any good to this country. If playing so many games is a must, they should rotate the players including the captain.

Conclusion

If I have to pick top three reasons for India’s recent failure (and past fake glory) I would pick the following:

- Flat pitches in India
- Tight International schedules (IPL + Too much of limited over cricket)
- Wrong selection process and final 11 composition

What do you think?

Lalit Modi Falls

27 Apr

The Modi Express has derailed as expected, following its off the track behavior in the past two-three weeks. Though the high profile IPL Chairman and Commissioner, held his willpower together till the last minute, it was very clear that he himself expected things to end like this – at least since the past one week.

Money, Power and what else?

When Lalit Modi announced his ambitious IPL plans, it was clear that the business man in him spotted the right business opportunity around the religion called cricket. In India, regardless of whether you are poor or rich, educated or uneducated, Hindu or Muslim, cricket will sell anytime. And Modi’s intentions were good as long as he wasn’t greedy and power-hungry.

From the very beginning, I have maintained in this blog that the IPL has several unethical aspects around it that Lalit Modi and BCCI was trying to tap into. The public money was being looted to make money for the cricketers, franchises and some of the governing bodies (modies?) without giving back anything to the game of cricket or the millions of poor people in this country via some kind of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). It was all about money making and they sold every possible ad slot, every possible sponsorship opportunities, negotiated and renegotiated telecast rights and what have you? On top of that, Mr. Modi (and certain big shots in Indian Politics) seem to have got facilitation perks for each and everything they did – All at the expense of the public.

Is BCCI clean?

From what it looks to me, Modi must be having solid proofs against some of the big shots and he may be waiting for the opportunity to pull down even the central ministry and not just the BCCI. I am sure, BCCI and the IPL Governing council were aware of all that Modi has been doing and probably even they themselves are beneficiaries of the game. Though, I am not in favor of privatising cricket in India, I strongly believe that it’s time to clean up the system and BCCI is run by cricket professionals (with good organization skills) rather than age-old politicians.

The Twitter mess

It all started with a little tweet from Mr.Modi that initially caused the central government to loose one of its capable young ministers. Now, it came back on him like a boomerang to knock him down.

Let God save our Cricket!

Lalit Modi takes on Shashi Tharoor and Kochi IPL Franchise

12 Apr

The IPL Chairman Lalit Modi has sparked a new controversy yesterday when he tweeted the details of the share holding pattern of Kochi Rendezvous Sports and even making some personal remarks against some of the beneficiaries of franchise’s share sale.

In an attempt to take on Mr. Shashi Tharoor, who was behind the successful bid of the Kochi franchise, Mr. Modi has crossed his limits and even talked about one Ms. Sunanda Pushkar who has received 18% free shares of the franchise. Mr. Modi is questioning why he was told to keep mum about the deal. In the meantime, the Kochi Franchise has voiced their disappointment to BCCI which seems to have warned Modi on his public remarks.

The big political game!

IPL is a lot more than cricket and entertainment as a billion Indians believe. It’s about power and politics. A lot of franchise owners are from the entertainment industry and bollywood but most of them are financial powerhouses who have certain political inclination. Mr Modi himself is a strong BJP pro and it’s quite natural that he wanted to take the new franchise to Ahmedabad which wasn’t quite successful. Mr Modi, after loosing the Rajasthan Cricket Association elections last year, did his very best to damage the RCA because the political power situation in Rajasthan changed in favor of Congress since last two years. His attempt to take on Mr.Shashi Tharoor, an MP from the Congress party, is no brainer but dirty politics that is also fueled by his inability to help another Modi in Gujarat with a new IPL franchise.

Modi had earlier made rules such as business houses with 1 billion net worth will only be allowed bid for franchise. This was an attempt to chuck out smaller players. And this is the very reason why a consortium had to bid for Kochi Franchise and airing a piece of his mind against the same is no business ethics.

Is Lalit Modi clean?

Well, he has received a celebrity image in the last three years. He’s also the highest individual tax payer in the country for the year 2010 who might have been the beneficiary of certain franchise deals in the past and even contracts of various entities with IPL. In the case of the Kochi franchise, probably he was helpless and hence want to unsettle the deal. Or is it like he is jealous of the franchise’s and owners’ ability to play with big bucks?

Regardless of that, it’s a shame on him to talk about Ms. Sunanda Pushkar’s private life and friendship with Mr. Tharoor. Even if Mr Tharoor is one of the beneficiaries of the deal, is it Modi’s business at all? And by making public comments about the whole thing he has made a bigger fool of himself. Overall, what lies ahead of hims is not a bright future as he cannot hold on to the IPL Chairman post for too long.

Anyhow, my opinion still is that BCCI and IPL together will kill the game by making it a business rather than sports. And while IPL is becoming more and more successful, the game is not given focus but politics (national and international) is taking over!

Here is my All-Star IPL Team!

31 Mar

With the IPL fever catching on, I thought of writing this little post on what I consider as the perfect IPL Twenty 20 team! Please feel free to suggest your 11 member team as comments below.

IPL all star eleven

Please note that, I have picked only those players who are available to play in this edition (IPL 3) of the Indian Premier League.

My IPL Eleven

Matthew Hayden
David Warner
Ravi Bopara
Sachin Tendulkar
Jaques Kallis
MS Dhoni (Wicket Keeper)
Andrew Symonds
Chaminda Vaas
Anil Kumble (Captain)
Lasith Malinga
Muthaiah Muralitharan
Harbhajan Singh (12th man)

I did not pick the likes of Kieren Pollard, Kumar Sangakkara, Dilshan, Dwyane Bravo etc due to the lack of form. Also not considered is technically poor hard-hitters like Yusuf Pathan, Robin Uthappa etc. My bowling team consists of more spinners and medium-slow bowlers rather than express fast bowlers who can’t do much on the Indian wickets. I have tried to pick people who are more or less consistently performing and are great team players! Jack Kallis, Andrew Symonds and Ravi Bopara are the picks when it comes to the allrounders! Virender Sehwag, Chris Gayles and Adam Gillchrist do not find a place as well in the role of openers due to inconsistent and unpredictable form. I felt that Hayden and Warner will further improve with more number of games in the opener role. Symonds’ inclusion is debatable but the only other option probably was Suresh Raina. Overall, my team looks like a bunch of veterans but unfortunately IPL 3 has been all about the vintage class on display and most youngsters have been pathetic and inconsistent throughout!

Now, what’s your IPL Eleven? I am curious about the permutations and combinations that you may come up with! Please leave your comments.

IPL is getting better

30 Mar

This edition of IPL is probably the best so far. Not that I have changed my past opinions on IPL. I still firmly believe that the event needs to be shortened further – something like 3-4 weeks in duration max.

What’s going good in IPL 3?

The most important thing is that the BCCI has done something about the pitches and infrastructure. The very first edition of IPL was done in completely dead and dirty pitches that was used for the entire season. For this edition, however, many pitches were laid new and the supporting infrastructure such as stadiums, fresh grass on the grounds (probably except Bangalore) etc were taking care of.

What is also good is the fact that, despite many cricketers from Pakistan and England missing, the overall enthusiasm is still getting better!

The money that keeps pouring in is another important aspect. I hear that for a ten seconds ad slot on TV, the prices are as high as 5 lakhs!

What could be better?

As I suggested earlier, the duration of the whole event needs to be cut big time. Since they are adding two new IPL teams next year, they cannot afford to play two matches each per a pair of teams. This is something that they have to do before the TV channels who took over the telecast rights sue them for lost ad revenue.

Another important thing is the pricing of the tickets. In India, the tickets may sell at any price but it’s ridiculous that for a three hour match they price the tickets as high as 30K (Is it the Shah Rukh Khan stand or something?). I tried to get some tickets in one of the Bangalore matches and a reasonable location on the stadium costs me 2700/- rupees per ticket. I mean, we are not talking about a one day match here!

It’s okay if they come up with even 16 IPL teams as there’s enough players in the world and India who could be beneficiaries but they should definitely reduce the event duration.

Another important aspect of IPL is the injury caused to international players. Even Dhoni himself was injured along with top stars like Graem Smith. This is something that’s going to affect their appearance representing their countries – especially in the forthcoming T20 World Cup!

And finally, IPL and Lalit Modi had done a lot of charity work and support for schools in South Africa last year? Why they hell aren’t they doing anything like that in India this year? Hypocrites!

Hope Lalit Modi is listening!